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Against the Grain, Vol. 1


Against the Grain, Vol. 1

In reviewing AGAINST THE GRAIN, I was a bit out of my element. This book comes in the form of a reader app that hosts the experience and presents the book --- and volumes of the book --- as a whole. It’s a very charming presentation altogether, harking back to a much more flashy time for comics: 1990s! Looking at these bright visuals, I am reminded heavily of a time when comics seemed simpler, at least for this reviewer. Colors and dynamism ripped right out of mid-1990s Justice League of America and MAXIMUM CARNAGE, with a nice solid early-2000s animation linework and character design.

Initially, I was wary of the book being wrapped in its own app. I didn’t see the utility in it. I have never said this of a piece of software, but the idea of putting a book within an app felt cumbersome. But this app runs more smoothly than most reader apps I’ve used previously.

"Silly and wonderful."

The application boots right up, and we are presented with the catalogue immediately. AGAINST THE GRAIN, Volumes One and Two, ready to be previewed and purchased. The menu displays everything very clearly, and you are welcome to click on a title, which then opens a lower sub-menu, where you may choose to buy the volume you have chosen, preview the first 20-30 pages (depending on the volume chosen) or watch a charming animated trailer. I recommend the second trailer. It is very good --- unexpectedly good. All in all, the application runs with no issues, no problems and no glitches, and it presents to us a clear and defined presentation on the invented exploits of a little girl named Leslie, who is just starting to mature and develop. 

Leslie’s imaginary adventures are a sweet and very believable reaction to a child dealing with the early stages of puberty. The first volume primarily focuses on her soon-to-be-recurring feud with the aptly named “Boobman.” This villain first appears in a fantasy Leslie creates in the middle of her mother’s tea party. Leslie is snatched up by a guest of her mother’s get-together, who explains to Leslie that it it is only a matter of time before her breasts come in. This sets Leslie off into a fantasy world where she is a ninja warrior hunting an evil gun-runner known only as “Boobman.”

Boobman utilizes large bazooka-type weapons whose primary ammunition is large breasts. Leslie must defeat the Boobman and prevent his shipment of breast-shooting guns from making it to the black market. 

Heck yeah, that is great --- silly and wonderful. This is truly just a piece of the earliest bits of Volume 1, but it’s excellent fun, and needed in order to keep a coming-of-age narrative light-hearted until the drama can drop. This early scene of action sets up a villainous entity that follows our heroine, Leslie, all throughought her imagination, where she hides from her physical and emotional development that she can’t escape.

Reviewed by Matthew Burbridge on June 4, 2015

Against the Grain, Vol. 1
by Erica Austin

  • Publication Date: April 12, 2012
  • Genres: Graphic Novel
  • : 74 pages
  • Publisher: Slightly Off Productions
  • ISBN-10: 0985443812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985443818